Just when we started easing back into some kind of a routine and life was somewhat returning to normal, this past week the hospital bills started showing up, we had to go pick up Charlie’s death certificate and after months of super clear “pregnancy” skin, I started breaking out like a teenage boy. We were quickly reminded that this will be our life for awhile, because:
We’re still in the early stages of the grieving process. J and I are working through all of the emotions “appropriately” (whatever that means) but we have a long journey ahead of us. Even when we have a good day or two, out of nowhere, something will catch us totally off guard. Like reviewing Charlie’s death certificate or planning an upcoming trip for a family wedding and thinking about how the day of the wedding was supposed to be my due date. I saw this article the other day and it really hit home.
I gave birth. I’m still physically healing from surgery. The recovery process doesn’t speed up just because you experienced a loss. I spent the last week thinking about how most women recover from a caesarean while trying to take care of a newborn at the same time and therefore mentally beating myself up every time someone asked if I was back at work yet and I replied “no.” It took some wise words from a friend and the book “The Gift of Time” to remind me that I had major surgery and to be kind to myself.
My body knows that I gave birth. But it doesn’t know that I don’t have a baby to take care of. So almost a week after I delivered, my milk came in. It’s another thing I had prepared myself for but it was still hard to deal with. I read somewhere that for some women who have experienced a loss, this can cause a “second grieving” and I can understand why, especially since breastfeeding was something I was looking forward to.
And then there’s the baby weight. Because of all of the extra fluid I was carrying around, I had already gained around 40 pounds when they last weighed me at 29.5 weeks (and that was after my water broke). At my appointment last week, I had lost 27 pounds, which means I have 13 pounds to go to be back at pre-pregnancy weight. Right now, I’m not able to exercise (hoping I get the go ahead at my six week follow up appointment) but I’m also not ready to really start watching what I’m eating, either. I’m not too concerned about it actually. The hardest part about the extra weight and my changed body really comes down to this: when I look in the mirror, what I see is a reminder of losing Charlie — and that’s hard.
On a positive note, we got some good news this past week at my two week follow up appointment. The doctor said that the takeaway message for us is that what we went through was likely an isolated, extremely rare thing and that we should be able to treat any future pregnancies as “normal.” It’s hard to think about the future right now, but it was reassuring to hear.